Eat your way to healthy, glowing skin by Dr Cinthya Wibisono
A glowing, healthy and supple complexion – we all want it! Here is a short and sweet checklist of three things to include in your diet so you can look after your skin health by nourishing it naturally.
Did you know that the human adult body is made up of approximately 60% water? Simply being well-hydrated can affect how your skin looks and feels. Plus, water is fundamental for our cells, organs and tissues to function. We lose water through sweating, urinating… even breathing! So, it’s crucial to replenish water loss and stay hydrated.
Nutrition tip: As a guide, 2-3 litres of water (ideally) should be a rough goal per day. Alternatively, a human adult should be consuming between 35-45 millilitres of water per kilogram of body weight. Not a fan of water? Add fruit and/or herbs to jazz it up a little. Fresh strawberries and mint-infused water, anyone? Caffeine-free and naturally flavoured teas, as well as eating fruit or veggies with relatively high water content (e.g. watermelon or cucumber), are also good sources of fluids to help you hit your hydration goals.
- Fruits & Vegetables
Fruits and veg pack a powerful punch when it comes to polyphenols. In a nutshell, polyphenols are naturally occurring compounds found in plants, which have beneficial anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties capable of reducing the harmful effects of free radicals (we naturally produce some of these in our bodies from normal, day-to-day metabolic activities) on our cells. Without the help of polyphenols, damage to our cells from constant exposure to free radicals can speed up the aging process, leaving us susceptible to developing certain diseases and affecting the condition of our skin.
Nutrition tip: Eat a variety of different-coloured fruits and veggies every day so you’re getting a broad range of vitamins, minerals and those potent polyphenols. Aim to include about 2 and 5 serves, of different-coloured fruits and veggies respectively, every day. Craving a hit of something sweet? Try having fresh fruit before reaching for choc bikkies. Throw together 1 cup of mixed salad leaves + ½ cup of cooked chickpeas as a side salad at lunch. For a healthy dinner, fill up half of your plate with at least 3 different-coloured veggies (e.g. ½ cup roasted carrot + ½ cup roasted broccoli + 1 medium-sized steamed potato).
- Essential fatty acids (aka. ‘healthy fats’)
We need certain fats to help support skin health, some of which are described as ‘essential fatty acids’ (EFAs). EFAs are considered essential for a number of reasons: (1) they are vital for survival; (2) EFAs form part of our cell membranes; (3) our bodies cannot produce EFAs. The good news is, EFAs can easily be obtained through food.
Nutrition tip: Extra virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocado and oily fish (e.g. salmon or sardines) are not only naturally rich sources of EFAs, but also have anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory benefits, all of which support skin health. Use extra virgin olive oil in your cooking, or as a salad dressing, and have about 30g of nuts and/or seeds every day as a snack. Also plan to include oily fish in your main meals 2-3 times a week. Lastly, the classic smashed avo on toast – flavoursome, filling and a nutritious combo for brekkie or a snack!
Dr Cinthya Wibisono is an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Bachelor of Nutrition & Dietetics (Honours) from the University of Wollongong. Read more about her here.